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  • The European City Centre With No Street Names
    The European City Centre With No Street Names
    In the Quadratestadt of Mannheim, Germany, the streets aren't named: instead, the blocks are. It's an exception to a rule that most people don't even think about — especially not mapping...
  • Making Artificial Earthquakes with a Four-Tonne Steel Ball
    Making Artificial Earthquakes with a Four-Tonne Steel Ball
    In Göttingen, Germany, there's a four-tonne steel ball that can be raised up a 14-metre tower -- and then dropped in less than two seconds, crashing back to earth. It makes tiny, artificial...
  • Faceswapping, Unethical Videos, and Future Shock
    Faceswapping, Unethical Videos, and Future Shock
    I was going to tell a science fiction story about faceswapping, and mass blackmail. Then the news broke about unethical faceswapping videos, and software designed and marketed for creating...
  • Controlling An Airport From 80 Miles Away
    Controlling An Airport From 80 Miles Away
    London City Airport's getting a new control tower: but it's just going to be a large mast with 14 high-definition cameras on it. The actual tower will be 80 miles away, in the headquarters...
  • Canada's Most Successful King
    Canada's Most Successful King
    This week's guest is Evan Hadfield, from Rare Earth. Go subscribe! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtGG8ucQgEJPeUPhJZ4M4jA -- start with his video on the last elephants of Cambodia: https://www.yo...
  • A Language Made Of Music
    A Language Made Of Music
    Today's guest is 12tone! Go subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTUtqcDkzw7bisadh6AOx5w - and here's their video about the Imperial March: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA36-mQEYwk...
  • Sign Language Isn't Universal
    Sign Language Isn't Universal
    This week's guest is Rikki Poynter! Go subscribe to her vlog: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS7wVohIwd66b95xyuw7DFQ -- and if subtitles aren't on automatically here, you can turn them on...
  • 17 Tonnes of Spinning Glass: Making the World's Largest Telescope
    17 Tonnes of Spinning Glass: Making the World's Largest Telescope
    This week's guest video comes from Active Galactic Videos: go subscribe! https://www.youtube.com/ActiveGalacticVideos/ They got to walk on the dish of a telescope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1...
  • Atomic Annie and Blue Peacock: Citation Needed 7x06
    Atomic Annie and Blue Peacock: Citation Needed 7x06
    It's the last show of the season, and we're going out with a bang. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUuTCcXzUug FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIo2o...
  • This Video Is 2D And 3D Simultaneously: the Pulfrich Effect
    This Video Is 2D And 3D Simultaneously: the Pulfrich Effect
    Hold on tight, because with a stabilised camera shot and a pair of sunglasses, you're about to see a video that works in both 2D and 3D at the same time. The technique's called the Pulfrich...
  • John Stonehouse and Dropped Trousers: Citation Needed 7x05
    John Stonehouse and Dropped Trousers: Citation Needed 7x05
    This time, join us for a tale of politics, intrigue, and a man dropping his trousers. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox4XQeWn6xc FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?li...
  • The Null Hypothesis
    The Null Hypothesis
    While I was trying to read a script to a camera in zero-g, the student researchers behind me were trying to prove their own ideas -- or rather, to disprove their "null hypothesis". Let's talk...
  • The Flip Flap Railroad and Marshmallow Bearings: Citation Needed 7x04
    The Flip Flap Railroad and Marshmallow Bearings: Citation Needed 7x04
    In the second of two shows with guest Matt Parker, we're covering some hair-raising history, and also imagining some little ears flapping in the breeze. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/wat...
  • How Zero-G Planes Work
    How Zero-G Planes Work
    The European Space Agency offered me a seat on their zero-g plane: it's an Airbus A310 that flies parabolic maneuvers, pulling up into the sky and then arcing back down, giving its passengers...
  • Turra Coo and Four-Legged Juggling: Citation Needed 7x03
    Turra Coo and Four-Legged Juggling: Citation Needed 7x03
    Matt Parker joins the team this week, in which there's talk of the great cream seams and a surprisingly in-depth discussion of how quadrupeds might juggle. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/...
  • Batman's Village of Fools: Gotham, England
    Batman's Village of Fools: Gotham, England
    There's a link from a 13th century legend, to a 16th century insult book, to a 19th century writer, to a 20th century comic book hero. And it starts in a small village near Nottingham, in the...
  • The Sark Football Team and Hovercraft Enthusiasm: Citation Needed 7x02
    The Sark Football Team and Hovercraft Enthusiasm: Citation Needed 7x02
    This week, Gary's on home turf, Matt's hoping to float on air, and we all set a new record for longest time to get to the actual subject of the article. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/wat...
  • Why Hold Music Sounds Worse Now
    Why Hold Music Sounds Worse Now
    It's not your imagination; hold music on phones really did sound better in the old days. Here's why, as we talk about old telephone exchanges and audio compression. Thanks to the Milton Keynes...
  • Charles Blondin and the Stolen Point: Citation Needed 7x01
    Charles Blondin and the Stolen Point: Citation Needed 7x01
    Back in front of a live studio audience! We start off Season 7 with a tale of bravery, courage, and omelettes. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMBno-jp_wY FULL PLAYLIST: https://ww...
  • The German Town That's Literally Breaking Apart
    The German Town That's Literally Breaking Apart
    The town of Staufen, in the south-west of Germany, has a problem: a drilling operation in 2007 that went very wrong. Half a metre of movement might not sound like much, but in this town, that's...
  • Is It Dangerous To Talk To A Camera While Driving?
    Is It Dangerous To Talk To A Camera While Driving?
    I'm visiting the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator, to answer a question: how unsafe is it for me to vlog while driving? Is vlogging while driving dangerous? The team...
  • The Lava Lamps That Help Keep The Internet Secure
    The Lava Lamps That Help Keep The Internet Secure
    At the headquarters of Cloudflare, in San Francisco, there's a wall of lava lamps: the Entropy Wall. They're used to generate random numbers and keep a good bit of the internet secure: here's...
  • The Story of Salvation Mountain
    The Story of Salvation Mountain
    Near Slab City, California, a man painted a hill. It was outsider art: Leonard Knight had no training and no great masters to imitate. But somehow, he created something that resonates with...
  • What Is Sea Level, Anyway?
    What Is Sea Level, Anyway?
    In Calipatria, California, the town is below sea level -- but their flag pole isn't. But what does "sea level" mean? Is it just theory, or is there more behind it? I'm at http://tomscott.com...
  • Why California's Musical Road Sounds Terrible
    Why California's Musical Road Sounds Terrible
    In Lancaster, California, there's a musical road. When you drive over it, it plays the William Tell Overture. Unfortunately, it's out of tune. Here's why. Thanks to David Simmons-Duffin, who...
  • The Reaction Ferries of Basel: What Have We Missed?
    The Reaction Ferries of Basel: What Have We Missed?
    On the river Rhine in Switzerland, there are reaction ferries: boats with no engine, no paddles, no onboard motive power at all. Here's how they work -- and a question about what other simple...
  • The Centuries-Old Debt That's Still Paying Interest
    The Centuries-Old Debt That's Still Paying Interest
    In the archives of Yale University, there's a 367-year-old bond from the water authority of Lekdijk Bovendams, in the Netherlands. And it's still paying interest. Thanks to: Prof. Geert Rouwenhors...
  • Rotary Jails and Accidental Amputations
    Rotary Jails and Accidental Amputations
    In Crawfordsville, Indiana, there's a rotary jail: an invention that, with hindsight, should probably never have been built. But it was, here and in other towns across the United States. It...
  • How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees
    How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees
    Computers store text (or, at least, English text) as eight bits per character. There are plenty of more efficient ways that could work: so why don't we use them? And how can we fit more text...
  • A Nuclear Waste Dump You Can Walk On: Weldon Spring, Missouri
    A Nuclear Waste Dump You Can Walk On: Weldon Spring, Missouri
    In Weldon Spring, Missouri, there is a strange, grey, windblasted seven-storey pile of rocks. It's the Weldon Spring Site: a nuclear and toxic waste dump on the site of an old uranium processing...
  • The US Government's $983 Freeze-Dried Urine
    The US Government's $983 Freeze-Dried Urine
    The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, sells Standard Reference Materials, or SRMs for short. They're analysed, quantified, and certified substances: everything from metals,...
  • Inside The Giant American Freezer Filled With Polar Ice
    Inside The Giant American Freezer Filled With Polar Ice
    Welcome to the US National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, Colorado, where there's a giant freezer filled with 20km of ice cores from Greenland and the Antarctic. Here's why. Thanks to everyone...
  • What Counts as a Mountain?
    What Counts as a Mountain?
    I'm at the top of Mount Evans, more than 14000 feet - 4.3km - above sea level. This is definitely a mountain: but why doesn't the smaller summit next to it also count? Let's talk about prominence....
  • FizzBuzz: One Simple Interview Question
    FizzBuzz: One Simple Interview Question
    There are a lot of opinions on how to hire coders, and most of them are terrible. The opinions, that is, not the coders. But a basic filter test to make sure someone can do what they say they...
  • Connectome Scanning: Looking at the Brain's Wiring
    Connectome Scanning: Looking at the Brain's Wiring
    There's an MRI scanner in Cardiff that can look at how the brain's wired up: your connectome. It's nowhere close to science fiction singularity brain-uploading, but it might well be part of...
  • I Can't Show You How Pink This Pink Is
    I Can't Show You How Pink This Pink Is
    I can show a brighter pink. I can show a more saturated pink. But I can't show you this pink. Not quite. More about Stuart Semple and his pigments: https://www.culturehustle.com/ [that's his...
  • Why Old Screens Make A ᴴᶦᵍʰ ᴾᶦᵗᶜʰᵉᵈ Noise
    Why Old Screens Make A ᴴᶦᵍʰ ᴾᶦᵗᶜʰᵉᵈ Noise
    Last week I made a video surrounded by old-school CRT monitors and televisions - cathode ray tubes. And I completely forgot to remove the high pitched whine they produce. Here's why: why they...
  • Benjamin Rush and Inventing the Bucket: Citation Needed 6x06
    Benjamin Rush and Inventing the Bucket: Citation Needed 6x06
    In the season finale: Gary gets nauseous, Matt gets accused of being a minor royal, and Chris pulls a face. This time, we're back at the founding of America, talking about a man who helped,...
  • Why The Government Shouldn't Break WhatsApp
    Why The Government Shouldn't Break WhatsApp
    Encryption backdoors - breaking WhatsApp and iMessage's security to let the government stop Bad Things - sounds like a reasonable idea. Here's why it isn't. A transcript of this video's available...
  • Acoustic Kitty and Bat Bombs: Citation Needed 6x05
    Acoustic Kitty and Bat Bombs: Citation Needed 6x05
    "That is horrific," says Matt at one point during this episode. He's not wrong. We delve into unconventional Cold War tactics, and some surprising - and doomed - members of the animal kingdom....
  • An Elevator That Actually Goes Sideways
    An Elevator That Actually Goes Sideways
    I've filmed a paternoster lift; I've filmed the strange Genoa elevator that sort-of goes sideways. So when I got an email from Thyssenkrupp, an elevator company, saying "come and see our Multi...
  • Julie D'Aubigny and Dueling Scars: Citation Needed 6x04
    Julie D'Aubigny and Dueling Scars: Citation Needed 6x04
    In this episode: four men from England, talking about a woman from France. Nothing can possibly go wrong. BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/KNq4PdbnDtg FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playli...
  • The Runways of Fire That Let WW2 Planes Land In Fog: FIDO
    The Runways of Fire That Let WW2 Planes Land In Fog: FIDO
    Landing on a runway surrounded by fire might not sound like a good idea, but it's better than trying to land without modern instruments in thick fog. This was FIDO: "Fog, Intensive, Dispersal...
  • The Museum of Failure
    The Museum of Failure
    In Helsingborg, Sweden, the Museum of Failure has just opened. It's just one room, but inside, curator Samuel West has assembled some of the world's greatest commercial disasters - and also...
  • Stephens Island Wren and the Cobra Effect: Citation Needed 6x03
    Stephens Island Wren and the Cobra Effect: Citation Needed 6x03
    Please welcome our guest panelist Will Seaward, as we run through ecological disasters and unintended consequences! BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/aQY8Z-w0e1Q FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube....
  • Blocking People in Real Life: Tom Scott at An Evening of Unnecessary Detail
    Blocking People in Real Life: Tom Scott at An Evening of Unnecessary Detail
    I'm not saying this would be a good idea, and it's definitely not a prediction of the future. It's just a story. I think. An Evening of Unnecessary Detail runs once a month from January to...
  • The $100 Hamburger and Tach Time: Citation Needed 6x02
    The $100 Hamburger and Tach Time: Citation Needed 6x02
    Today, we're not delving into history: instead we're talking about language, pop culture, and one heck of a sandwich. BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/arBFXmzbqjc FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtub...
  • The Poison Garden of Alnwick
    The Poison Garden of Alnwick
    Inside the beautiful Alnwick Garden, behind a locked gate, there's the Poison Garden: it contains only poisonous plants. Trevor Jones, head gardener, was kind enough to give a guided tour!...
  • Jack Churchill and a Live Studio Audience: Citation Needed 6x01
    Jack Churchill and a Live Studio Audience: Citation Needed 6x01
    We're back! And we start Season 6 with a tale of bravery, bagpipes, and big Scottish swords - with a live studio audience. BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/PifS7y5aJ3w FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.y...
  • The World's Most Powerful Tidal Current: the Saltstraumen Maelstrom
    The World's Most Powerful Tidal Current: the Saltstraumen Maelstrom
    Near Bodø in Norway, there's the strongest tidal current in the world: Saltstraumen Maelstrom, a constantly-changing rush of whirlpools, boils and vortices. It might not be quite the whirlpools...